Chapter 1: Heroic Acts

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When Seth arrived home, his brother was still awake, curled up with a science textbook on their leather couch in a hoodie and sweatpants. It was how Seth found him more often than not.

"Hey," Seven said without looking up.

"Hey. Did you eat?"

"Yes, mom."

"Very funny," Seth said."I just wanted to make sure. I was out longer than usual. It isn't good for you to be skipping meals."

"I know, seriously, I had leftovers from the fridge. No need to go all protective, big bro."

Seth ignored his comment and glanced over at the clock on the wall.

"Get to bed, Seven, it's late," he said, taking in his brother's disheveled and bleary eyed appearance.

"Can't. I have a test tomorrow," Seven replied, twirling his medical ID necklace around his finger.

"I mean it. Bed. Now."

"Alright, alright. I'm going, but if I fail it's on you, not me."

"You'll fail for sure if you don't sleep," he told him.

"My track record begs to differ."

Seth rolled his eyes before he shooed his brother from the room. Once Seven was gone, Seth made his way into the kitchen and lifted two of the floor tiles in the corner of the room. As quietly as he could manage, he nestled his bag in the hollowed out space below and sealed the hiding spot back up.

Over the years, Seth had gotten accustomed to, and exceedingly skilled at, hiding things from his brother. He had to be. Seven was still a kid. A good kid, at that, and Seth knew he could never understand the life his older brother led. Or, at least, Seth hoped that he'd never need to understand the level of desperation and fear that had given birth to Off Grid.

He still remembered the first day his brother had seen the news reports about Resonance. It had been briefly after his second encounter with the hero, and right around the time the boy had begun really gaining support and attention.

Seven had stared at the blurry photos that had been captured of the masked teenager, caught in a late night battle. The wonder in his brother's eyes made Seth smile to himself, even if he didn't agree with what had caused it.

"A real superhero, Seth. In Argent City. How cool is that?" He'd asked, his gaze glued to the screen.

"Pretty cool," Seth had agreed.

"They say he might actually take down Off Grid."

"Maybe," Seth said.

He didn't believe it, of course. Off Grid was much older and more experienced than some kid with a cape. Smarter too. He wouldn't be so easily beaten by an amateur.

"I bet he could. The good guy always wins, right? A reason to fight for and all that."

A reason to fight for was exactly what had created Off Grid, but Seth didn't voice the argument aloud.

"Maybe in movies they do," he joked instead," but we can still hope he's got it in him."

"He looks my age even. He could go to my school and I wouldn't even know it!" Seven exclaimed.

"You'd better hope not, with the kinds of guys that will be after him. Pretty dangerous that young," he said.

"Yeah, but that would still be cool. Imagine having a supervillain just bust into math class. The look on Mrs. Peterson's face would be great," his brother grinned. "We'd probably get the rest of the day off too. It'd be so worth it."

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